FC Halifax Town: “The aim when I came to the club was to get the club promoted, and that’s not changed” says skipper Clarke

Town captain Nathan Clarke says he has no intention of retiring and wants to remain at The Shay.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 9:18 am
Football - FC Halifax Town v Chesterfield FC. Nathan Clarke. Photo: Jim Fitton

Clarke, 37, has just completed his 20th season as a professional and his third with hometown club Halifax

The centre-back, who is out-of-contract this summer, says he would love to stay with Pete Wild’s team, and is eager to add to his near-700 senior appearances.

“I am yeah, I definitely want to carry on, I want to keep progressing,” he said.

“The aim when I came to the club was to get the club promoted, and that’s not changed.

“It’s something I’m still desperate to do for the club, as a hometown lad, it’d be a fantastic achievement for me.

“So I’d love to carry on playing, and I hope that is with Halifax. If not, I’m desperate to carry on playing and prove what I’ve got to give to a team.”

Clarke says he is still enjoying his football as much as ever.

“Yeah I am, I love it, love being around the group, love being involved in this past year, love being involved in all the analysis and the pre-game build-up to it all, seeing a different side to the management side, how they go about things,” he said.

“Yeah, I’ve loved it, it’s been an enjoyable, strange year, and hopefully I’ll be able to carry on. I still feel as if I’ve got enough to give, and hopefully the club and the staff feel the same.”

Clarke has been used as an extra pair of hands by the backroom staff at Town during the season.

“I’d like to think it has worked well, I’ve got a good relationship with both of them (Wild and assistant manager Chris Millington).

“It can only benefit both parties really, so hopefully we can carry that on.”

Town are set to announce their retained list by the end of the week, with several players, like Clarke, out of contract, but the skipper is hopeful the nucleus of the squad will stay.

“I hope so because it was a good group,” he said.”As captain, they were a very easy group to captain, they managed themselves fantastically well.

“The manager put a lot of trust in all of the players, and I’m sure that he would say the same, that they responded really well and pretty much managed themselves in the day-to-day running of training.

“There was never really anybody miles out of line or anything like that, that we had to stamp out, it was a very good group and I’d be nice to see all the same faces again and build on what we were trying to achieve this season.”

Reflecting on the season just gone, Clarke said: “I think it’s been a positive one, with everything that’s surrounded it with no fans and the amount of injuries we’ve had.

“I’d say it was a positive season. We got very close to the majority of the goals we set ourselves at the beginning of the season, and that’s something we should be proud of.

“The end goal was to get in the play-offs and get promoted and unfortunately we’ve missed out on that.”

Clarke feels there has been progression at the club over the last 12 months.

“I think there has yeah, definitely,” he said.

“The way the club have gone about it in their training methods, the times we’re in, the progression we’ve had going from the hybrid model to pretty much a full-time club is full credit to the staff and the chairman in doing that.

“That can only be seen as a progression and something positive for the club.”

On a personal level, Clarke is satisfied with his season, which was disrupted by a four-month lay-off due to an eye injury.

“The stand-out thing for me was the injury I had, unfortunately I had to miss a lot of games, which was disappointing,” he said.

“But as a whole, I was pleased with how I started, a really good pre-season, I was excited to be back and playing.

“Up to the Sutton game I felt I was doing reasonably well, and certainly when I’ve come back I’ve felt as if I’ve fought and tried as hard as I could to get the club promoted and where it needs to be.”

Asked if he felt different as a player after the injury, sustained in the 1-0 defeat at Sutton in November, Clarke said: “The earlier games (when he came back), it was in the back of your mind a little bit, a bit of a worry, wondering whether I was going to be susceptible to this again.

“Certainly after the operation, it didn’t feel normal again, it was a little bit strange.

“I’m sure anybody who’s had the injury or the operation will tell you, it’s slightly different, so there was a big change in my game, in how I approached certain things.

“Thankfully I’ve got used to that, and the training sessions and the amount of work I did with the physio and the staff certainly put me in good stead for the remaining games.”